Four-year-old Australian girl found alive in locked house after vanishing from family’s tent
Crucial to her rescue was evidence police received about an unknown vehicle at the campsite at the time of her disappearance, authorities said
A 4-year-old girl who went missing from an Australian outback campsite more than two weeks ago has been found “alive and well” in a locked house, authorities said on Wednesday.
Police broke into a house in Carnarvon, a town about 100 km (62 miles) south of the campsite, early on Wednesday morning and found Cleo Smith in one of the rooms.
Cleo disappeared from a campsite where she was staying with her family north of Carnarvon, a regional town six miles from Perth, Western Australia’s capital, in a case that echoes that of Madeleine McCann.
Cleo was in a tent with her mother, her mother’s partner, and her baby sister. Her mother, Ellie Smith, said she saw Cleo at 1:30 a.m. when the girl asked for a drink of water, then woke at 6am to discover she was gone — along with her sleeping bag — and the tent zip was open.
Witnesses at the campsite reported hearing the skidding tyres of a vehicle at around 3am on Saturday, before Cleo’s disappearance became known.
Police said on Wednesday that there was no family connection to the man they arrested. They believe she was snatched from the campsite in an “opportunistic” crime.
Crucial to her rescue was evidence police received about an unknown vehicle at the campsite at the time of her disappearance, authorities said.
Additional reporting from The Washington Post and Telegraph